Friday, October 1, 2010

US Ambassador for supporting agri sector

ISLAMABAD, Sept 30 (APP): The US Ambassador Robin Raphel here on Thursday reiterated the US support for the development of agriculture sector in Pakistan. A high level USAID delegation led by Ambassador Robin Raphel visited Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and met with its president Muhammad Zaka.A comprehensive presentation was made by ZTBL to the delegation in which role of agriculture sector in the country’s economy was highlighted.

ZTBL President Zaka Ashraf explained the specialized role of the bank in the agriculture sector, which was the only institution playing a vital role by providing a combination of technology alongwith credit for enhancing the agriculture productivity in Pakistan. 

He informed that ZTBL has an extensive outreach through its country wide network of 353 branches and over 1300 MCOs contributing towards helping the small farmers even in the remote areas.
Zaka Ashraf appreciated the role of the US government and particularly USAID in assisting the development of the agriculture sector of the country.
The delegation was also briefed about the restructuring and revamping of the bank with particular reference on introducing new technologies and initiatives diversifying sectoral exposure and meeting the supply demand credit gap of over 430 billion.
The model of private public partnership and collaboration with international agencies was shared with the delegation.
The potential areas of cooperation between USAID and ZTBL were also discussed at length especially in view of the present situation in the agriculture sector caused by floods.

The delegation was also briefed on the initiatives like  soil improvement, seed development, water conservation (Drip Irrigation, Sprinkler irrigation), horticulture, orchards development, tunnel farming, livestock development, which need to be taken on fast track basis to increase agriculture productivity. 

The US Ambassador appreciated the commendable job carried out by ZTBL for transforming Pakistan’s agriculture and efforts made by ZTBL in taking a pro-active role towards agricultural development through introduction of new technologies.

She discussed the damages caused by current flood disaster in Pakistan and the possible role ZTBL can undertake to alleviate this situation.

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